Why are local seeds important? This Honduran farmer uses them to help his community

October 28, 2020
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“I don’t worry that there are no vegetables in the market because I produce what I need, thanks to the support of SeedChange and FIPAH.”

Adonis, pictured here, knows why local seeds are important. Here he stand on a sloped field, smiling toward something to the left of the camera. He holds a leaf attached to a small coffee tree in his right hand. A chicken is standing next to him. There are many different types of  crops surrounding Adonis.

Five years ago, Adonis Nolasco did not consider himself a farmer. He worked small jobs in rural Honduras, uncertain of how he would support his family. When he came across an opportunity to join a farmer-led research project with our local partner organization, the Foundation for Participatory Research with Honduran Farmers (FIPAH), Adonis decided to try his hand at farming.

He started with five bean varieties from FIPAH’s farmer-led plant breeding program. His favourite: an abundant producer called El Campechano. The next season, he began growing other grains and vegetables and learned to produce his own high-quality vegetable seeds.

He soon realized there was a major gap in his region: good, local seeds.

“Here, most people depended on bought seeds. Very few had their own seeds.”

Adonis is changing that.

Why are local seeds important? Adonis points out elements of a poster on a rough-surfaced wall. The poster shows different crops mapped out.

Today, he grows and sells seeds, giving his neighbours access to affordable, well-adapted seeds—and giving himself a new source of revenue.

Adonis’s story is part of the legacy of resilience SeedChange donors are helping create in Honduras.

From his humble five-bean beginning, his small plot took off and is now teeming with life: 10 species of fruit trees and 21 other crops. With money from his crop and seed sales, Adonis built a house. He continues to improve his soil so that he’ll be able to grow nutritious food for years to come.

He is giving back, too. Adonis now serves on FIPAH’s board of directors, and is working on making his farm a model to train other farmers. But the greatest sense of satisfaction he gets is from watching his young son pick organically grown food from his gardens. He feels no apprehension seeing his small child sitting among the crops because he knows they’re healthy and safe.

Thanks to his hard work and your ongoing support, Adonis now feels better prepared to keep his family healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I don’t worry that there are no vegetables in the market because I produce what I need, thanks to the support of SeedChange and FIPAH.”

Help farmers like Adonis change their communities

Why are local seeds important?

Local and locally-adapted seeds are an essential part of agricultural systems. When farmers save the best seeds from their crops year after year, they adapt the crops to the region they’re growing in. The better adapted the crops are to the climate and growing conditions, the more likely farmers will be to reap healthy food.

Most Indigenous and rural communities in the Global South rely on their own sources of seeds year after year. But farmers’ varieties have become increasingly vulnerable due to climate change, loss of small farms, market pressures, and seed privatization. Farming communities have seen their local seed systems eroded, with grave repercussions on food production.

Meanwhile, most commercial seeds are not well adapted to the diverse and often marginalized conditions of smallholder farms. Plus they usually require the use of expensive agrochemicals that are fossil fuel-intensive and damaging to ecosystems and human health.

To address these challenges, SeedChange supports farmers like Adonis in Honduras to produce, save, exchange and sell local and locally-adapted seeds.

You can support these farmers too.